Stanza by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009
Stanza is a trouble-causing dog who secretly writes poetry after his brothers go to bed. He’s afraid if Dirge and Fresco find out what he does all night he will be tortured mercilessly. When he enters a jingle-writing contest, though, he risks being found out in the hopes that he will win first prize.
This book keeps the self-realization theme light, even as it touches on Stanza’s yearnings to write and the hard work he puts into it. I appreciate Esbaum’s balance. And while School Library Journal calls it “a welcome addition to a collection or unit about self-esteem and self realization”, what strikes me is what it says about being a writer. So I peeked over at Jill Esbaum’s website and was really touched by her background—how she was full of stories as a child, but locked them up inside until she had children of her own and started reading to them. Oh, how I can relate! Well, except for the published author of seven picture books part. Anyway, if you enjoy reading author bios like I do, go over and take a look.